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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  March 31, 2013 9:00am-11:00am PDT

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deal or no deal. could the immigration fight come down to what's happening on the border? new developments just in the past few hours. north korea with new words today on its nuclear weapons. is it all just talk? a member of the house foreign affairs committee joins us with answers on that. the latest tragedy of two wars. sitting in a room, files piled on one another. we will talk about the lives connected to all of this you see here. it's the mini sseries in the making more than 2,000 years ago. why does it hold the public's fascination this many centuries later? good day, everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." i'm richard lui. conflicting reports on how much of an immigration reform deal is really in hand. two republicans on the gang of eight group of senators that has been working on a deal do not
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see eye to eye. lindsey graham says they have a deal. >> it has to be drafted. it will be rolled out next week. yes, i believe it will pass the house because it secures our borders. it controls who gets the job as to the 11 million, they'll have a pathway to citizenship but it will be earned, it will be long, and it will be hard and i think it is fair. and the main thing, the combination of events in this bill will prevent a third wave of illegal immigration and replace a broken immigration with a merit based economic based system to help grow our economy in the future. >> but senator marco rubio says, quote, there is no final agreement and is labeling any reports of a done deal premature. meanwhile, on the gun front, partisan haggling over background checks refuses to abate but some lawmakers say they are optimistic a deal can be cut here. >> i'm working very hard with both democrats and republicans, pro-nra and anti-nra people to come up with a background check
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bill that will be acceptable to 0 senators and be very strong and get the job done. it's very hard. we're working hard and i'm hopeful we can get this passed. >> this as polls show support for gun control legislation is slipping since the newtown massacre. that's what we're watching today on alex witt. let's bring in chrkristen welket the white house. let's start with the reports that have been coming out this morning just in the last several hou hours, the gang of eight there doesn't seem to be on the same talking points at least for now. where does this deal stand? >> reporter: well, richard, bottom line is there's no final deal until everything has been signed off on. while it appears as though they have worked out some of the broader policy issues, they still have to draw the legislation and then all come to agreement on that. but that is not to undercut the importance of what was worked out this weekend. the labor unions, business community have worked out a deal on the temporary or guest worker program.
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unions were concerned that temporary workers wouldn't be paid enough. chamber of commerce was concerned that the business community would wind up paying too much for temporary workers so they work out a compromise on that point that would allow temporary workers to be paid none 0 less than the median wage. so that is what was resolved but in terms of every "i" being dotted and "t" being crossed that has yet to happen. take a listen to what senator schumer had to say on "meet the press." >> he is protecting some of the things that he thinks are very important in the bill, but i don't think that will stand in the way in any way of any final agreement. i think we're all on track. >> reporter: and senator schumer talking about marco rubio who has been very cautious in his language saying, look, let's not call this a deal until we have agreed to all of the terms. as you know immigration reform has come close to getting accomplished in the past but has
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been derailed. that's why you are seeing some of that caution on the part of senator marco rubio and others. having said that, they have, it does appear, really crossed a major hurdle in the immigration debate. >> kristen, there is the president tuesday is when he re-emphasized the need to come up with an immigration reform deal here. what's the white house's reaction so far to what is happening over the last couple of days? >> reporter: well, you know, it's interesting the president has really kept his distance to some extent from these negotiations, not wanting to derail them by inserting himself. we saw that yesterday. the white house put the out a very cautious statement, sort of reiterated what we've heard in the past which is the president believes that progress is being made and of course this past week he said he wants a deal done by summer. if that doesn't happen and if he doesn't see progress continue, the white house prepared to put forward its open plan on immigration reform. richard? >> the very latest for us, kristen welker, thank you so much. i want to bring in now to talk more on the topics, stach writer
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for the hill newspaper, deputy managing editor for politico, good morning to both of you. >> good morning. >> you've heard about the reports that have been coming out this morning. we heard from schumer. we've also heard from lindsey graham as well as marco rubio just within the last three or four hours. what's your assessment of what is happening behind the scenes at this moment? >> they made a lot of progress over the weekend. we were just hearing about this visa program for temporary workers, hoe skilled workers to come over. they have reached agreement on that, the business and the labor sides came together. that's a big deal. that's a major point, a major sticking point for the gang of eight to get to their agreement on the issue. this morning has been interesting because we heard senator shchumer's optimism siig we're close to a deal and senator rubio by contrast hitting the pause button a little bit. not the brakes but the pause button. there's no deal yet. we have to see the language,
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signaling to the conservatives that he's not rushing through anything on immigration reform. >> and i guess what he's saying here, elise, there's a process that's going on. i'm talking about senator marco rubio. there's a process on going it a the moment. in the statement he released before the sunday shows he also said, boat, i cannot urge strongly enough that such a discussion start with meaningful hearings. of particular importance is a full consideration of border security proposals including testimony from border security experts, the secretary of homeland security and others. elise, is this an issue that we might see rear its head during an open debate, an open discussion there in the senate? >> i don't think any of this is going to happen to rubio's full satisfaction, to be honest with you, richard. i think rubio is talking about new testimony from the administration, new testimony from experts on these very vigorous debates like border security. at this point we have senators who are saying we have a deal. i really don't think we're going to see new testimony.
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>> do you think the border test, though, may cause some problems for immigration reform that we've been talking about so far? >> i don't know. rubio said this morning, right, that he needs to approve the language. i think at this point everyone is pretty much onboard. i don't think we'll see anything throw a major wrench in the deal at this point. >> rachel, if you've used google so far this morning and since we're all journalists here we use it all the time, we will have seen then that they are noting told is the 86th birthday of chavez, the latino civil rights leader out of california. and one of the issues that he worked on half a century ago, the issue of the immigrant or migrant workforce and working towards their rights. with the guest work er program, the number attributed to that is 200,000 is what they're agreeing to. i think 400,000 according to "the new york times," was really the number they wanted. put some context around those two figures and why it matters.
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>> well, we saw a deal being reached over the weekend with two major players in this debate, the afl-cio and the chamber of commerce. it's not totally clear that they're going to have agreement from everybody on both sides of the debate. in other words, not all of the business community and maybe not all the labor activists will line up behind this. that remains to be seen. so that's a question moving forward, but obviously these are two very important players to have onboard. the senators are optimistic as you heard this morning and even rubio who, again, hedged a little bit is not dissenting on the major points of the agreement. >> elise, building on what rachel just said, this issue of the guest worker program, although it has reached agreement to "the new york times" and the gang of eight, once if gets out to the full senate, might that be an issue that hangs up this it deal? >> you know, it's hard to say. i think sthors have been talking for so long about these issues and republicans, i think, are,
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like rachel said, are trying to put a slight pause on a deal in case something falls apart and they can say democrats rushed this through too quickly. they went too fast and republicans are doing that so that in case something like the guest worker program falls apart on the floor, they have something that they can take back to their base and say, you know, we didn't agree with this. >> really quickly here to you, rachel, timing wise, those staffers, or so i've heard, that have been working on this deal that this is just a matter of process. they are going to have something after the break. it's going to get done. this is to be expected, this back and forth we've been talking about this morning, this is going to be part of the process to get there. what are you hearing? >> that's right. they are hoping senator schumer says they're hoping for a deal, an actual deal next week. then congress comes back after their easter break maybe by may they hope to have this out on
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the floor and have a full debate. we are looking at a compressed timetable unless things go off the tracks here in terms of timing. >> rachel, elise, thank you so much. we'll see what happens in the next several hours coming out of the beltway. another day, another threat from north korea after the cokorean peninsula had entered a state of war. the north wanted to shut down the border factory complex. that is the last major symbol of cooperation. ian williams is following the situation from south korea for us. good day, ian. >> good day. >> reporter: richard, a strange thing happened here sunday. north korea didn't make any threats. after days of increasingly violent rhetoric, threatening to rain death and destruction on the u.s. and south korea, kim jong un seems to have taken a day off. perhaps the north korean leader ran out of things to say. north korea had warned saturday that the korean peninsula had entered what it called a state of war and threatened to shut down a border factory complex that's the last major symbol of
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interkorean cooperation. in fact, the peninsula has been in a technical state of war for 60 years. for all the rhetoric including a vow to launch a nuclear strike on the u.s., experts believe a full-sized conflict is extremely unlikely. but the growing tensions during which the north has renounced an armistice and cut lines across have raised fears here that a misjudgment between the sides could lead to a clash which could easily escalate. don't forget, also, that the u.s. has just under 30,000 troops stationed here. for its part, the white house said this weekend that the u.s. is taking the new threat seriously but also noted that pyongyang does have a history of bellicose rhetoric. richard? >> ian williams, thank you so much. now to weather. it is easter. finally looking like spring is here at least in the big apple. take a look at the rest of the country. you look very springlike today
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and hopefully it means good weather for easter. >> i'm trying. i have hot pink dresses in my closet and i figured easter was the day to bring it out. it's got to feel like spring at some point. in the northeast it is. in the plains that's where colder temperatures are starting to work back in. back down to 37 in minneapolis and northern north dakota is back down into the 20s. but it is going to be a fairly nice day especially in the northwest where we should once again top out in the 70s. look at areas like seattle, 70 degrees today. portland, oregon, should get up to 73 degrees as well. it does like nice and mild in the northwest. cooler in california because of the clouds and the showers that are making their way onshore and will linger through most of the day. we are going to see some heavier thunderstorms, though. the best chance of heavy rain and thunderstorms and also hail will be across parts of texas and into northwestern louisiana. a closer look shows you a lot of cloud to ground lightning and
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we've had reports yesterday of ping-pong sized hail and that is certainly a possibility again today. so that's an area we will be watching. but for your easter sunday, the eastern half of the country looks unsettled but in the northeast the showers shouldn't really get here until after easter dinner although the clouds are trying to work in right now. richard? >> talking about easter dinner, i understand you are putting a good one together. >> i have the artichokes. my hands smell like garlic. i'm getting it ready for my dad. >> it's going to be a good dinner. thanks so much. a chilling report about a parolee track iing device in we coast headlines. also good book, great ratings. why so many are watching a new miniseries. [ construction sounds ] ♪ [ watch ticking ] [ engine revs ] come in. ♪ got the coffee. that was fast. we're outta here. ♪ [ engine revs ] ♪
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and now to a developing story on the double murder
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that's rattled a texas county. kauffman county district attorney mike mcclellan and his wife were shot dead inside his home. a top prosecutor was also shot and killed in the county courthouse parking lot. nbc's gabe gutierrez is joining us live. gabe, just two months ago i was mentioning assistant district attorney also killed. what are investigators saying about all of this? >> reporter: well, that's right, richar. that assistant district attorney was shot and killed two months ago. now investigators aren't saying much about this and they are not connecting the two cases but local authorities as well as the fbi are involved after they found the body of this district attorney late last night and his wife cynthia and a friend and a relative had checked on them earlier in the day but couldn't get hold of them so that's why police went to the home. now authorities are also looking into this. as you mentioned as to whether this is connect ed to the murde of mclel land's assistant prosecutor, who was shot and killed on his way to work two months ago and in an eerie turn
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of events district attorney mcclelland spoke out about that murder at the time. this is what he said. >> i hope that the people that did this are watching because we're very confident that we're going to find you. we're going to pull you out of whatever hall you're in. we're going to bring you back and let the people of kauffman county prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. >> reporter: again, police are not commenting on whether those two incidents are connected. we should also note that police had been investigating whether that murder of the assistant d.a. had been connected to the killing of colorado's prison chief, tom clement. the suspect in that shooting had been killed in the shoot-out with police in north texas but, again, police are not linking any of the three incidents and we hope to find out more in a
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news conference scheduled in the next two hours. richard, back to you. >> gabe gutierrez, thank you so much. the waiting game has now begun for the supreme court's ruling on the two same-sex marriage cases on this morning's "meet the press" actor and gay rights advocate rob reiner has said perhaps it has already one. >> the other reason we did it and the big reason was to educate the country, was to put this on a national platform to have this national discussion. which we've had and we've seen the polls move dramatically, so we were at somewhere in the 40s when we started four years ago, and now as you've cited we're at 58% with 80% of people under 30 accepting the idea of same sex marriage. >> joining me right now is democratic congressman of california, the first openly gay member of congress and a minority. thank you so much for being with us, congressman. when you hear what rob reiner has said here, what's your reaction? do you agree with what he said?
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>> first of all, let me wish your viewers a happy easter. and i do agree with rob reiner that the public is ready for -- is ready to accept a ruling from the court on the two cases. >> in your lifetime, i was looking at this a little bit earlier here, congressman. this on the daily beast and their headline reads the gayest month ever, same sex marriage rules march. in your lifetime, when you look at a headline like that, do you think this is the best time for this community, the most broad acceptance, if you will, of marriage equality related issues? >> well, you know, president obama is very fond of quoting martin luther king, the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. i would say the events of the past week, the past month that that arc is really an acceleration curve. this is has certainly gone much
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faster than i ever thought possible. >> you know, you first ran for congress in 1994. you and i have talked about this in the past. you also said that at that time your lgbt status was a detriment to your candidacy back in the '90s. now that you are the first openly gay minority congress member, being gay today, does it benefit you or is it more of a liability to think when running for congress? >> well, i would say it's become one small aspect of who i am. the voters of my district 18 years ago dealt me a 17-point loss. this past november an 18-point win. my sexual orientation was a very minor part of the campaign. they frankly cared more about the fact i was a schoolteacher. they felt that an educator represented their aspirations. it's a very aspirational district, full of middle class families with young children.
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and they're really struggling to use the educational system to pull themselves up and to realize the american dream. so they're counting on me to deliver jobs, to improve education, to pass the immigration bill. these are important to the people of my district. >> one of the issues they're probably watching is this debate over prop 8 by the high court. you wrote a letter to president obama about this. you say, quote, unique perspective on discrimination, having your parents and grandparents all held in interment camps during world war ii and the prejudices you faced as a gay politician. when you look at all of that put together, how should the high court factor in the changing social landscape in its decision? >> well, you know, i don't believe that the court should rely on public opinion, but certainly i've been trying to point out public opinion has changed and in reality courts do take into account the likelihood of the public being able to accept their decisions.
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i greatly admire the questioning of justice sotomayer, someone who knows what it means to be vulnerable, both a woman and a latina. she in one minute was able to really clear up the issue of equality. she asked the lawyer of the anti-marriage side, is there any reason outside of this marriage case why lgbt people should be discriminated against? and that lawyer said, no. i saw that as a clear signal that we need to move ahead aggressively in the congress. >> congressman mark takano of california, thank you. the scare at one of the most f famous buildings in the world. dry mouth may start off as an irritant. it'll cause cavities, bad breath.
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headlines making news on the west coast. idaho statesman has a front page story titles sandy hook fallout echoes in idaho. this article is about the december school massacre and how it changed the way parents, police and lawmakers view security. the "los angeles times" has report titled tests found major flaws in paroleegps. a state investigation found they were so inaccurate and unribl the public was in imminent danger. an article called "game of phones." samsung moves past apple. how samsung has 29% of the smartphone market share compared with apple's almost 22%. on this easter sunday we begin today's number ones with the ranking of the most religious cities in america. we're not deciding that. gallup is doing it. topping the list, provo, utah. the area there where 77% of the
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people say they are very religious. jackson, mississippi tied for number two at 64%. birmingham, alabama, third with 56%. baseball's like a religion to some folks and in an espn ranking miguel cabrera of the tigers is named one of the top players in the league. "forbes" says they top them all. the dodgers are second with $1.6 billion. the red sox are third, about $1.3 billion. the top ballparks trip ranks campbeden yar third best. the very best, look to the steel city for pittsburgh's pnc park. trip adviser logs the baseball park there for having an intimate setting, great sight lines and stellar views as well. those are your number ones.
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bikes and balloons, and noodles on spoons. a kite, a breeze, a dunk of grilled cheese. catches and throws, and spaghettio's. a wand, some wings, soup with good things. sidewalks and doodles and wholesome noodles. puddles and pails and yes, puppy dog tails. for a lunch like this, there's a hug and a kiss. because that's what happy kids are made of. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.
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in today's -- welcome back to "weekend's with alex witt." i'm richard lui. resuming screenings tomorrow for patients of a dentist accused of unsanitary practices. hundreds showed up at a clinic yesterday trying to find out if they contracted hiv or hepatitis. letters began going out to 7,000 patients. nelson mandela is said to be breathing without difficulty today. he is still in the hospital today being treated for pneumonia. a bomb threat at the eiffel tower forced the evacuation of about 1,400 tourists and staffers on saturday. people were allowed to return about two hours later once a security alert was lifted there. pope francis had a gathering of more than 200,000 people. give us a sense of the crowd and the day. >> reporter: well, richard, it was a full house once again here
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in st. peters square as easter mass proved to be as popular as every other event and ceremony the pope has presided since he was elected two weeks ago. pope francis delivered his first easter mass ain his traditional style, short, simple, somber in front of more than 250,000 people who came from all over the world to witness his first easter celebration in a packed st. peter's square which was also embellished by thousands of flowers provided as per tradition by dutch florists. after the mass the pope toured st. peter's square in the open-topped white jeep. then he went on the balcony where he appeared more than two weeks ago on the day of his alex to deliver the traditional blessing. it means to the city of rome and to the world. in it, he talked about and called out for peace in the middle east in particular between israelis and palestinians.
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easter mass for pope francis was very important for two different reasons. first of all, of course, easter is the most important day on the christian calendar but it does conclude the transitional period from pope benedict xvi to pope francis. the period of lent, of penance in the christian world ended on holy saturday with pope francis today celebrating the resurrection of christ but also in a way the renewal of the catholic church as a whole. generation gap, ben carson and longtime gop member of congress don young are under fire this weekend for making controversial statements that left many people wondering what century they're living in. >> no group, be they gays, be they nambla, be they people who
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believe in bestiality, it doesn't matter what they are, they don't get to change the definition. so it's not something that's against gays. >> my father had a ranch. we used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks and pick tomatoes. now it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. it's all done by machine. >> joining me now is are two strategists. good sunday to both of you. n noelle, every time we hear that statement from young we have to nod our heads and cringe. is this merely a generation gap given the age of congressman young? >> no, it's not a generation gap. it's atrocious. what an asinine comment for somebody to make especially when the gop has felt basically a rebranding effort from the chairman to outreach to the latino and hispanic community. i'm offended by this. i actually think he should get out. if he is this out of touch, he is the worst representation that
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we can have involved in our party. and, like i said, when we are really trying desperately to reach out to minorities and h hispanics, for him to do this, he's in politics so that is not a gender thing. >> noelle, the center of the republican party, wherever that might be, when you do have statements from a representative like don young and he comes out and says such things and as the party tries to bring in or widen the tent, as has been said so many different times, will this continually be a detractor for the party, the republican party, as it moves forward over the next year to 2014 and 2016? >> well, you know, we hope not because 2014 is very important for some key senatorial races and it's time that we get people like this out of here. and when he did did the interview, he had to apologize later but i guess somebody had to tell him to apologize.
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didn't he know he's in politics? that wasn't right? who even thinks that way in those terms? you know, we need more of the progressive people out there who are more with it and, like i said, i don't think it has anything to do with age. i think the guy is just ignorant. and i don't care -- i'm a republican pundit, i've writ ann book on branding. i don't care if congressman young hears me say that today or not. that's what i believe and i think we need to wash that from our party in order to attract new blood. >> well, he's hearing you. you're coming out very clearly and very strongly. emily, what's your thought on what the republican party needs to do to deal with these outside outsiders, those who say things that may affect the brand of the republican party here? >> first of all, i totally agree with noelle. we do need more progressives. i agree with the fact he -- this is not an acceptable comment from any perspective. leader pelosi it did say she thought he should reach out and apologize. i think he needs to go further.
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if you talk about what the republicans need to do to rebrand, there's been a lot of discussion in the past couple of weeks with the rnc coming out with new discussions about bringing in hispanic vote, and this is coming up. we see this every day right now with the immigration bill coming up possibly next week does seem like they've come to a deal. but at the heart of this you can't just talk about reaching out to people, you know, polling to find the top lines. it comes down to dignity. you need to really -- don young's comment shows he does not believe in the dignity. he does not see the value of people. he sees them as nothing more than stereotypes. so if the republican party does truly want to reach out and bring people in, they do need to recognize the value that they inherently have. >> how practical is it or would it be to ex size, to push away individuals like this from the party? how would one know that don young would be that person that would say such a thing and who knows who will be the next don young or todd akin?
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>> you never know what someone is going to say. take what ben carson said that seemed a like homophobe. that was ridiculous, too. and then ben carson in the republican party looking at a rising star. he's extremely intelligent. he's on point. he has been very critical of obama with his policies. and he needed to keep that high road as far as the gop people are concerned and to keep on criticizing obama on his policies. now he's veered off into some of the social issues which i think a lot of people are saying, dr. carson, why did you do this? a lot of people liked dr. carson. as far as congressman young, i just think that, you know, people need to go on and move past that comment, and i actually think that he needs to go.
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>> i know how you feel about that. >> out of touch. >> noelle, i want to play this for you. jeff flake on "meet the press." take a listen. >> could you support a republican presidential candidate some day who supported same-sex marriage? >> i think that's inevitable. there will be one and i think he'll receive republican support or she will. >> what's your thought? >> jeff flake, way to go. i like that. i've supported jeff flake. he was a supported canned can dat when he ran in arizona. that's what we need. we need more people that -- i don't care what your view is if you're a republican and you believe in marriage between a man and a woman. i don't care. you need to be a little bit more open-minded. i think one of the biggest things that the gop could do that could come out a shining star with the gay marriage is they could say, you know what, this is going to be very radical but i think we should do away with the institution of marriage
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and if we want to make this fair, make civil unions for everyone, man, woman, man-man, woman 0-woman, and leave it up to the churches. if you want a religious ceremony, go to your church. if someone has a problem with that, take it up with the priest. take it up with the bishop. take it up with the rabbi and take it off the table. make it completely fair. >> thank you. emily, thank you for your time today. >> thank you. all right. now to office politics and this week's best of edition, who is responsible for the sequestration, why gun control is such a difficult battle and the perks of prime time. alex began by asking jonathon alter if president obama has lived up to the promise of 2008. >> he has lived up to a much bigger part of the promise than people recognize.
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he failed to move to some sort of politics where we all look beyond red and blue. that was never that realistic. >> in my day we never envisioned a black mayor of new york city much less president of the country. some still can't stomach it, it seems. >> obama is not really a politician as we conventionally def define that. he doesn't enjoy the backslapping. we saw him in the house chamber. >> see him going in and out. >> he inhabits the role but that's not really what he prefers to be doing. >> the is sequestration is a product of total irresponsibility on the part of the congress of the united states particularly.
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these are people who have not for going on 30 years dealt responsibly with the national interest and the result is that our system of government is broken. >> the important thing to understand is that the republican party as a whole doesn't give a rat's patootie about the deficit. anyone who says that just budget cuts, no tax increases is not serious about reducing the deficit. >> one of the things to understand about the politics of all of this is the republicans want cuts but they don't want to own that, and their biggest political goal is to produce cuts in the most popular programs, which are of course medicare and social security that are the work of president barack obama. >> the most emotional part of the speech. to the end it says give them a vote.
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this will apply not just to gun control but to a whole series of bills. >> on 0 the issue of guns in which on one side of people who want to have an unfettered direct relationship with guns that is not regulated or mediated by the government. those people care desperately and deeply about that issue. there are a lot of them and they re really care. i will offer what the objective is in afghanistan right now, to get out. if your objective is to get out we can accomplish that pretty easily. >> when we leave will we have made the united states strafer? >> no. >> you talk about getting access to classified information at different points in your career. how does that happen? >> happens in all sorts of different ways.
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that i can't discuss because it's classified. >> reporters love a good story. we were sitting there saying, oh, the awe of this is too much for us to bear. >> does that go with you? >> this comes with me. i think it's a more appropriate for a host. >> alex will talk to comedienne liz winstead of "the daily show." the big numbers behind "the bible. "an overlooked appetite for religious story telling. commitment to the gulf. and every day since, we've worked hard to keep it. today, the beaches and gulf are open for everyone to enjoy. we've shared what we've learned, so we can all produce energy more safely. bp's also committed to america. we support nearly two-hundred-fifty thousand jobs and invest more here than anywhere else.
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a ten-year tradition in atlanta came to an end this weekend. for the past decade passengers have stood and cheered for troops leaving for afghanistan, iraq and squat, the final military charter flight left on saturday. members of the uso led the single file march through the airport there. the troops were given a good meal and some gifts before leaving. a new report from harvard's kennedy school of government finds that wars in iraq and afghanistan will cost $4 trillion to $6 trillion. only $2 trillion of which has been spent. this comes as we learn just how far behind the veterans administration treating disabled soldie
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soldiers. nbc news' jim jim miklaszewski spoke to one veteran whose story is not common. >> reporter: john served 16 years in the military and two tours in iraq before he was medically dischashlged for injuries sustained in the war. but when he applied to the v veterans administration for disability benefits, his claim was lost in red tape for 963 days launching a bureaucratic battle he waged for two and a half years. >> there were just times i would say to my wife i would have been better off if i had been killed in iraq. >> joining me now is medal of honor recipient and retired colonel jack jacobs and new york state senator, chairman of the veterans homeland security and military affairs committee and a c captain in the air force reserves. good to see you both here today. let's start with this, colonel, the data from the va, disturbing and you've seen the numbers. the va saying that they nearly have 900,000 disability claims pending with an average wait of
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273 days. the average wait in major cities is two years. how do we get to this point? >> part of it is due to the va it self and their attempt to do the right thing. when the general, who is the secretary of veterans affairs took charge, he's himself a wounded veteran, he decided people who have pts and veterans from veietnam who were subject o agent orange should be entitled to va benefits, cash money for disability. and so he made them all eligible. now for the bad news, the va is singularly unequipped to handle those claims. it's on a paper system not dij rised and it's going to take about 2 1/2 years at least until it's able to catch up with all the claims. >> senator ball, as we look at these pictures here, they really are shocking. this is just piles and piles of shelves and shelves of cases,
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each one representing a veteran who put everything for this country forward and now to come back and have to see this in terms of their specific case perhaps being put off for years. what's your reaction? >> quickly, i'm not in the active reserves now. i was promoted to captain. when you look at the files, some of the men and women coming back, when they hit a brick wall like that after they've served their kcountry, they have it particular issues with running into a bureaucracy and not being taken care of in the tender way that they need to be taken care of. i see this every single day. great men and women who work with the administration, with these veterans. we do a very good job of getting young men and women to raise their right handling to fight and die for this country. we do not do a good job of transitioning them back into the civilian sector, giving them the benefits they were promised and transitioning them to have meaningful employment not as a handout but as the opportunity to use their skill sets that they have in a way to create
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jobs and to continue a tradition of service in this kcountry. >> colonel, another part of this interviewing veteran affairs secretary on wednesday as you imparted the affair going on for two years. what is he saying to address this issue, those piles and piles of files you saw there? but in addition to that, as the state senator was alluding to, jobs. >> he's going to digitize and they're working on it. it's interesting to note while the federal government has taken an enormous slash in its budget and, by the way, will continue to downsize in terms of how much money spent, the department of veterans affairs has a huge increase in its budget and it's mostly to deal with this problem but with respect to jobs there's a big problem. part of the problem is the defense department. it's interesting to note that it takes, what, eight, 12 weeks, maybe more, sometimes as long as a year to turn a civilian into a soldier, sailor, airman, marine. a week to turn them back into a
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civili civilian. this is bad news. the defense department has to take more responsibility for transition. the second thing, and the defense department needs to get involved in this, too, there's got to be an education process. employers don't realize that veterans are the best people they can get, have authority, responsibility at a very early age and employers need to know this. >> state senator ball, i have the opportunity to meet many of them at these fairs and they are so driven. they have the skills that the colonel is talking about. 200,000 turning into civilian life every year. trying to get 100,000, 400,000 more. they have 100,000 so far. how important is it for jobs as a solution to help those returning veterans to reintegrate? >> i have to tell you, i worked with a lot of service disabled vets who have many times the disability who are heroes and you're a hero. it's a pleasure to be with you today.
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they don't want to. they want to continue to serve as an example to their families. the federal match for the service of disabled vets and, you're right. these veterans have the skill sets. they're not looking for a handout. they are looking for that opportunity. the government has to get involved in the same way that we get involved to pay and fund these wars, we have to be just as proactive to make sure we transition these vets into the civilian life and work with employers to provide the incentives to actually make it worth their while to hire these vets and once given a chance they'll never go back. they only want to hire vets. >> and vets looking for jobs, companies that have jobs for vets, the open letter about finding a spouse when you're still in college. all your important legal matters in just minutes. protect your family... and launch your dreams. at we put the law on your side.
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for suspects after a couple of gunned down in texas. is it revenge? deal or no deal. will there be an immigration plan this week? the story of a digital camera that disappeared and reappeared years later. good day to you and welcome to "weekends with alex witt." i'm richard lui in for alex today. words of caution over claims that new reform legislation is ready to roll out this week. a faltering federal effort to clamp down on guns. members of the so-called gang of eight talk up their plan in the past few hours saying they have a comprehensive bill at the signed to create a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented workers but also secure the u.s. border. >> he is protecting some of the things that he thinks are very important in the bill, but i don't think that will stand in the way of any final agreement. i think we're all on track. >> the gun control front, republican lawmakers like lindsey graham saying background
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checks do nothing to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. >> i don't think it makes sense. the current system is broken. fix the current system. don't expand it to individual transfers. nothing we're talk iing about would have prevented newtown from happening. the guy did not fail a background check. >> all this as president obama gets ready to head west it to colorado where he plans to highlight new gun control laws now in effect in that state. let's bring in chrkristen welke who is at the white house. good afternoon to you. let's start with the immigration deal that could pass. the gang of eight not so optimistic about a deal without making sure a plan for bringing foreign workers into the can country and then paying them the right amount was in place. what are we hearing on the guest worker program? >> reporter: well, we're hearing they have made major progress on the guest worker program. the sticking point revolved around how much temporary workers would be paid. the un krons were concerned that they would make below the median wage which would ultimately drag
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down wages for all workers but the labor community, the chamber of commerce was concerned that paying guest workers too much would ultimately have a harmful effect on some businesses so they compromised in between. the compromise involves paying guest workers the higher of the prevailing industry wage which is set in part by the labor departme department. that is washington speak in a complicated way of saying that they compromise. unions believe this will be fair pay and won't actually drag down salaries of other american workers, so that is really key here. another part of this is that some jobs have been excluded from this, some of the high er skilled jobs have been excluded from this. thts such a big deal, richard, because back in 2007, the guest worker program was one of the things that derailed immigration talks. it was one of the things, quite frankly, that was threatening to derail these current negotiations. so the fact that they have really crossed this major barrier and seem to have an
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agreement at this point is very important. having said that, lawmakers on both sides will tell you that until they have the legislation in place and signed off on of course there is no final deal. richard? >> and, again, that was sort of the tenor of the comments made this morning. is there a deal or isn't there a deal? it you're very claer to say a part of the deal has been agreed upon. any idea on time line here from what you're hearing, kristen? >> reporter: well, there is a time line, richard. we are hearing that their goal is to unveil the entire immigration reform package the week of april 8th. that is when lawmakers are back in session and then in terms of getting this passed through both chambers, you heard the president say this past week he wants to see something passed this summer. that may be an optimistic time line but that is what they are hoping for. as you know time is of the essence when you are dealing with these types of issues. >> kristen welker at the white house, thank you. to north korea now where the government is pushing its position as a nuclear nation today after a week of ongoing threats to the u.s. and south
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kor korea. this morning the ap reporting one of north korea's top legislative parties called the nation's life that would not be traded even for billions of dollars. joining me now is eliot engel of new york, a member of the foreign affairs committee. congressman, thanks for being here. when you hear that heightened rhetoric after saying they had missiles pointed, what's your reaction here? >> well, it's certainly irrat n irrational and makes no sense. you have the new leader of the country kim jong un is 28 years old. whether he's doing this because he wants to show that he's a strong leader or whether the military is pushing him into doing it, we really don't quite know. but we do know that these comments are irrational and, of course, need monitoring because north korea has nuclear weapons. it strikes home why the president is right.
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when you have irrational leaders it creates a dangerous world. >> what might the red line be when the united states needs to move forward in a more forceful way? >> well, i think we have to monitor them carefully, where their troop movements are, if anything has changed behind the scenes. we can pretty much tell whether it's rhetoric or bluster or really if it's real but, of course, south korea is on a heightened state of alert. the japanese are very concerned. it's something we have to monitor very, very carefully. this is a country that has nuclear weapons. it's not a matter of a question. if you have an irrational leadership, who knows what they could do. >> and whether they have been able to weaponize their capability, whether they are able to deliver on the devices that are reportedly now in their hands. what does this tell us about what's happening in north korea? we have a new young leader here. we have heightened rhetoric
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which we're somewhat, unfortunately, accustomed to because of his father, kim jong un's father, quite the bricsman, if you will. what does it say about the struggle for power with this young leader and the established military apparatus in the country? is there perhaps one trying to outdo the other, if you will? >> well, it could very well be. we really don't know for sure. the fact is we know that he has made all kinds of irrational statements since he's been in power. of course his father was in power and his grandfather before him. so it's really almost a dynasty but the rhetoric happens to be more rational than ever before. there's one other thing that we need to look at carefully and that is the role of china. china has more influence over north korea than virtually any other country and so i know that our officials are going to be having talks with the chinese to
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make sure that this this is not something that can explode. i'm sure china doesn't want it to explode. it's a headache for them but i think if we work together with china that we can perhaps try to put the lid on this. it's a very difficult thing to understand whether it's the military pushing him, whether it's him trying to show his bravado. we don't know but we need to monitor, of course, carefully. >> now what was coming out in the ap which we were saying at the top of the segment, congressman. korea's top legislative body is calling nuclear weapons the nation's life. and is this alluding to their very profitable black market sale of nuclear technologies and nuclear capabilities to other countries? >> yes, of course. other countries like iran. iran is a problem. i've been to north korea twice. the last time was several years ago and we met with the leaders there. they kept saying about how much they prize their nuclear weapons and kept saying saddam hussein
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didn't have nuclear weapons and look where he is now. so, again, are this is a country that has used its nuclear capability as a chip. they've exported it certainly to e iran and it's something that should worry us and i know we're monitoring -- >> there's chemical weapons, too. we talk about that big concern coming out of syria. north korea has chemical weapon capabilities as well. >> yes, they do. they have all kinds of capabilities and the fact of the matter is it's not a rational leadership, and so anything is possible and that's, again, why we need to be concerned. now south korea has a new leader and she's doing a very good job in coordinating with us, and i think this might be trying to test her as well. >> all right. more rhetoric coming out of the north. analyzing that are for us today, thank you so much for your time today, congressman eliot engel of new york. time now for your fast five headlines. a judge from washington state has ruled that two boys ages 10 and 11 will stand trial in a
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chilling plot to attack and kill classmates at school. police say the boys were caught with a knife, a gun, and a seven-step written plan of how one of them would rape and kill an 11-year-old girl with a knife and the other would hold off bystanders with the gun. the judge found the boys know right from wrong. nelson mandela is said to be breathing without difficulty today. the former south african president is still in the hospital being treated for pneumonia. the uss nimitz is on the way to the gulf, the oldest aircraft carrier left its home port in washington state yesterday. it is expected to be at sea six to ten months. in china two people are dead after contracting a strain of bird flu that has never before been passed on to humans. two men, ages 87 and 27 died in shanghai earlier this month. 11 people were sent to the hospital in switzerland after a pileup involving about 50 cars. reduced visibility due to fog is being blamed for the crashes there. now to our developing story on the double murder in texas. kaufman attorney and his wife
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were found dead inside their home. one of mcclelland's top prosecutors was also shot and killed in the county courthouse parking lot. gabe gutierrez is joining us from kaufman county. gabe, just two months ago, we were just talking about, there was that other killing. are they putting it together, the investigators, at the moment or are they still not commenting on it? >> reporter: well, richard, investigators still aren't commenting on that. they haven't linked the two cases just yet, but here in kaufman county many residents appear to be on edge. local authorities conducted a welfare check of other officials that worked inside the d.a. office last night. all are okay and the local mayor of the town near where the murders took place is urging everyone to stay calm. we're hoping to find out more information at a news conference scheduled within the hour and, again, as you mention ed police found the bodies of the district attorney and his wife, sin tcyn last night after a friend or relative couldn't get hold of them earlier in the day. now sources told our local affiliate kxas that an assault
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rifle was used in the murders. now authorities are looking into whether this could be connected to the murder of mcclellan's assistant prosecutor who was shot and killed on his way to work two months ago. mcclellan actually spoke out about that murder right after the incident. here is what he had to say. >> i hope that the people that did this are watching because we're very confident that we're going to find you. we're going to pull you out of whatever hall you're in. we're going to bring you back and let the people of coukaufma county prosecute you to the full extent of the law. >> reporter: and that was mike mcclelland two months ago vowing constituent for his slain colleague. now today he and his wife found shot dead in their home. richard, back to you. >> an eerie sound there that you were playing for us and his statements there.
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thank you so much. live in texas with the latest. what some recent pr might mean for the gop in 2014. we take our showers with it. we make our coffee with it. but we rarely tap its true potential and just let it be itself. flowing freely into clean lakes, clear streams and along more fresh water coast line than any other state in the country. come realize water's true potential. dive in-to the waters of pure michigan. your trip begins at
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to politics now. they say they're gearing up to take control of the senate in 2014, but begin the series of recent pr nightmares, there's questions about whether the gop's political fate is really that certain. joining us now "washington post" political reporter erin blake and congressional report er for roll call, good easter sunday. aaron, just reading through a piece that you co-wrote in "the post" you say democrats are defending 21 states in 2014 including seven states where the president lost by double digits in 2012. that's alaska, arkansas, louisiana, montana, north carolina, south dakota, and west virginia. so if, as you say in your
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article, playing defense is nothing new to the democrats and that the gop is suffering at the moment from divisiveness or a really jelling, how can the republicans try to reclaim some of that turf? >> well, the fact is that they have a very good setup this year, much like they did two years ago. you mentioned the seven states that mitt romney won that they're going after. six of them went by double digits for mitt romney and the most vulnerable state is kentucky. this is just a very good map. they don't have to play a lot of defense. they can play a lot of offense. you know, at this time two years ago the map was very good for republicans. they had some candidates make some gaffes that gave them problems. republicans do have a very good chance to get close to parity with the democrats in 2014. >> meredith, talk about this
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issue that aaron wrote about and just was discussing with us. they need six seats to retake the majority. many of those seats from 2006 as has been said. can it happen? we're looking at moderate democrats in red states that are retiring. how likely is this to happen that the republicans might be able to retake control yet throw in the mix of recent statements being made. these pr nightmares that are out there. >> so sure. i think if you look at the magic number of six, three open seats are available right now. you mentioned there are states like north carolina where kate hagan will have to play defense. the republicans will have to be aggressive about it. as aaron said, last time around in 2012 we thought the republicans were going to be able to take back the senate but strategically they failed. what you mean by the pr nightmares if you looked at todd akin, what was so damaging wasn't just the damage he inflicted on himself but those trades were ascribed to other
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people. if you look at what don young said, for example, with his racially insensitive remarks about latinos at a time when hispanics are trying to reach out to latinos and be partners in massive immigration reform, i think it's very difficult for them because you take those isolated moments and you put them in can connection with larger political themes and it becomes difficult and there are symptoms to a larger problem that republicans are going to have to choose sides on some of these cultural issues. otherwise you will continue to see incidents like this happen. >> meredith, how practical might opponents of those republican candidates there use the pr nightmares, we were talking about don young and him using that slur? will we see them in ads? look, this is the republican party. you don't want to vote for them? >> we're still really far away from election day. i know we love talking about elections. we're in the business to do it. i think the more pressing question is what republicans will do on immigration reform. people aren't really going to
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remember this don young moment two years from now but they will remember whether republicans came to the table to pass comprehensive immigration reform when congress failed to do that five, six years ago. so, yes, i think that it's damaging for the party. it's bad for their messaging. you saw speaker baoehner demand that don young apologize and that's because they want to create distance. but in the long term it's what the republicans are going to do with their policy that will count when we come to election day 2014. >> you talk about immigration reform, it works on a national level but perhaps not on a local level for many republicans. what's your reaction to that statement? >> it's very much a dichotomy for the republican party right now. the national party needs to get right on this issue if they want to win a presidential election. but when you look at each of the individual republicans especially in the house who are going to have to be deciding whether they vote for a bill, a lot of these guys, the vast, vast majority of them don't have to worry about the general election. they don't have to worry about a
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democrat beating them in the general election. they have to worry about the primary where groups like the tea party, a lot of insurgent candidates have come up in the last few years and knocked off some incumbents. there's going to be a lot of people, you know, assessing whether this is going to be damaging for their career and for conservative republicans in these red districts in a lot of cases it very well could be. >> thank you so much for your reflections on some of what has happened over the last couple of days. appreciate it. >> thanks for having us. >> you bet. it once was lost and now it's been found 0. how facebook helped solve an almost 6-year-old miystery for georgia woman. ttxwlun+og#wvs#q) ♪ that'll save the day. ♪ so will bounty select-a-size. it's the smaller powerful sheet. the only one with trap + lock technology. look! one select-a-size sheet of bounty is 50% more absorbent
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on this easter. the series debuted on the history channel with almost 14 million viewers. kristen dahlgren takes a look at what's hyped the series' run away success. >> god warned me. he told me to build a boat. >> reporter: it's been called the greatest story ever told, and it seems "the bible" hasn't lost its touch. >> i think what this miniseries shows is that if you make it good and you make it appealing that the audience will show up to watch ruch religious-themed entertainment. >> reporter: an estimated 100 million people worldwide will have watched the history channel miniseries. some hosting viewing parties, using study guides, and tweeting. the actor who plays christ is trending under the #hotjesus. >> john, baptize me. >> reporter: for executive producers mark burnett and his
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wife who also stars as mary, it was a no-brainer. >> when you think about it shakespeare wouldn't have existed really without the bible, 1,200 quotes. and clearly "lord of the rings" or "narnia" would not have existed without the bible. >> reporter: it's not the first time hollywood has found religious. "ten commandments" and "passion of the christ" were the most financially successful films ever. it seems americans are clamoring for more. >> dean? >> moses. >> moses is absolutely right. >> reporter: the american bible challenge is the highest rated program on the game show network. >> we live in a country where more than 75% of the population identifies themselves as christia christians. they're clearly underserved in mainstream media and they are hungry for entertaining and spiritual programming. >> reporter: and after "the bible's" success more religious inspired shows and movies are already in the works, an old story finding new life and millions of fans along the way. >> israel!
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>> reporter: kristen dahlgren, nbc news, los angeles. an incredible story about a missing camera that was finally found almost six years later and 6,000 miles from where it was originally lost in 2007. lindsay lost her digital camera while on vacation diving off the coast of maui. these are some of the pictures taken on that trip. last month a man was walking on a beach in taiwan when he found the camera case with an intact camera and memory cardin side of it. >> a week ago, last sunday, i was at work, just a typical day. about 11:30 a friend of mine from high school sends me a message on facebook saying, hey, looks like somebody finally found your camera. we were surfing the internet and saw your picture. this is a story a news agency put out. i clicked the link and there
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pops up my pictures. >> you had to be flipping out. first of all, how many pictures? >> 325, all of them perfect. >> a modern message in a bottle. china airlines is planning to fly her and a friend to taiwan in may. she is planning on meeting the man who found her camera. they are going to give her a tour of the country. iminate odors anywhere. like this overflowing trashcan. to test it, we brought in the scott family. so what do you smell? beach house and you're looking out over the ocean. some place like, uh, hawaii in like a flower field. take your blindfolds off. aw man! [ screams ] [ laughs ] that smells good. i wouldn't even just put it in the trash, i'd put it in every room. stick it to eliminate odors anywhere. new febreze stick & refresh. breathe happy.
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we support nearly two-hundred-fifty thousand jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger. welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." i'm richard lui in for alex on this day. a new poll on same-sex marriage, nearly 80% of americans are for same sex marriage. brian brown says it does not mean it is a foregone conclusion. >> marriage is by definition the union of a man and a woman and apart from all of this inevitability talk, 31 states have voted to say that that is the truth. they've embedded it in their state constitutions. only four have voted against it. there's a myth that somehow this is inevitable. >> joining me now is robert raven who served as democratic counsel to the house
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subcommittee on the constitution during the doma hearings in 1996 and is now the president of the raven group. thanks for being here, robert. you just heard what brian brown said. what's your reaction to that? >> well, i'm sorry that he feels that way. the first issue is we don't put civil rights to a vote of the popular will in this country. the thing about gay marriage, which didn't exist in this country or frankly where where in the world until 2000, is it is increasingly supportive and it's a tribute to the open hearts and open minds of the american public as americans see in state after state loving, committed couples, wanting them to come together in the most conservative institution and say we, too, want to commit to each other, be there for each other in sickness and in health, increasingly american minds and hearts are opening and it's just a wonderful, wonderful thing to observe, richard. >> i want to draw on your wisdom or ability to give us context, if you will, of the gray hair
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figuratively and perhaps literally on this issue. >> literally, literally. >> when we look back at 1996 the climate there, the political climate you encountered, at the end you had 342 yeas. how is that different today? >> it's been a tremendous change, richard. it was an awful, awful time to sit in the well of the house of representatives and the committee as it was being discussed, as men and women were voting on our love and talking about the commitment of gays and lesbians as if it were absurd when those of us involved in committed relationships knew that to be the opposite. it was a difficult time. it was a wrenching time. the conservatives had recently taken over congress and there were a series of things they were trying to rewrite the constitution on. this was just one of them.
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but the world has changed enormously since 1996 and many of the defenders, and i say that with quotes around it because no marriage was then or now under attack. many of the defenders have changed their minds. bob barr, a congressman who was the chief proponent of it has said that it was a mistake. president clinton, who signed it into law has repudiated doma and said it was a mistake. i'm delighted on this easter sunday passover, this time of renewal and rebirth for the american public to be living in a time people are beginning to see what a mistake that legislation was. >> robert, so to remind us that you served as a democratic counsel to the house subcommittee on the constitution at the time of the '90s did you think it was constitutional and what's your perspective today on how the highest court will address this issue? >> we thought at the time, richard, the very few members of congress, the heroes who 0 stood up to vote against it, we thought at the time, in the committee report that was passed out in 1996 from the minority reflects from the very beginning
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that not only was it bad policy but that it was unconstitutional. it's impossible to know what the nine justices are going to do, the nine are the only people in the country who know and even they don't talk to each other in the classical sense. >> from what you heard, though, of the argument and i don't have too much time. i apologize for interrupting. aren't they balancing two strong traditions as the "l.a. times" describes it, equal rights as well as tradition of the states and the states being able to use its rights versus the people deciding very important social issues such as this. >> yes. that's absolutely right, richard. it's a complicated set of questions which is why they grant add historic two hours of debate. essentially the question is can you write into the law lines which divide people? california did it with pr proposition 8 and congress did it in 1996 with the alleged defense of marriage act and the court is wrestling with that and the conundrum for the
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conservatives who are strong proponents of states' rights in the face of an increasing number of states saying that they support gay marriage. it's harder and harder for conservatives to say, well, we're for states' rights unless the state does something we don't approve of. it will be an interesting conversation among the nine justices. i am confident whether or not we win, those of us who are on the side of equal rights and marriage equality, whether or not we win in these cases, we're going to win. this is going in one direction as the american public increasingly sees that gay men and women want to come together, and express their love. >> robert raven, thank you so much on this sunday. >> thank you so much, richard. an ivy league graduate is causing a bit of a stir offering up provocative advice to college girls at princeton. it's gotten quite a bit of backlash online. this mom suggests girls should start searching for a husband when they are freshmen and that princeton or a top tier
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university will provide them with their best shot. when princeton alum susan patton wrote a letter published in the daily campus paper -- >> here is my advice for the young women of princeton, the daughters i never had. >> reporter: she didn't think her how-to guide on landing a husband would cause such controver controversy. >> for most of you the attorney stone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry. you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you. >> reporter: the mother of two sons and princetonians offered her advice to female students telling them princeton and other i' ivy league universities are the best places to find prince charming. >> here is what nobody is telling you. find a husband on campus before you graduate. yes, i went there. >> reporter: patton says her maternal life advice was aimed at a specific group of college girls she met after atending a women's leadership conference on campus. those in search of a family as well as a career.
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>> look at your opportunity here at princeton to do not just learn about your subject of interest or learn about your major, but look at life planning from a more holistic perspective. >> reporter: reaction was swift and mixed. online and on the street. >> i would not agree with that comment. i think you have lots of opportunities in life and depending on what path you go in terms of working. you know, to meet whoever your ideal partner would be in life. >> yes, i think it's elitist. >> reporter: a recent graduate of princeton who now writes for "the huffington post" fired back in an online article. >> i think the university is about much more than trying to get a ring on your finger before the time you graduate. you shouldn't get married to someone just because they're smart. you should probably love them, too. >> reporter: opinions and controversial advice on when, where, and how to find mr. right. now susan patton certainly
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stands by her statements and says she was just trying to set the record straight from where she stood. is there an immigration deal or not? the big three is next. opened a . ♪ i have direct deposit on my visa prepaid. my paycheck is loaded right on my card. automatic. i am not going downtown standing in line to cash it. i know where my money is, because it is in my pocket. i got more time with my daughter, [ laughing ] we got places to go. [ male announcer ] go open a new world, with visa prepaid. more people go with visa. available at ace cash express. all your important legal matters in just minutes. protect your family... and launch your dreams. at we put the law on your side.
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comprehensive identity theft protection available. [♪...] [squealing, crash] call 1-800-lifelock or go to today. chryistians around the worl are celebrating easter today. pope francis leading his first easter mass as pontiff of the
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vatic vatican. christians attended services. hundreds gathered at the church in jum's old city. easter services were held in ind india. people gathered at one church in mumbai to offer prayers during midnight mass. in washington a tradition at the lincoln memorial, more than 6,000 gathered for sun rise service there. new back ppedaling today after ethnic slur made by a longtime republican. congressman don young of alaska spent the last foo days walking back comments he made on public radio about growing up on his father's farm. this is what he said. >> my father had a ranch. we used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes. now it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes. it's all done by machine. >> young apologized on thursday, but many felt his explanation fell short. late friday he issued this statement saying, quote, i apologize for the incensensitiv term i used. there was no malice in my heart or intent to offend.
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it was a poor choice of words. that word and the negative attitudes that come with it should be left in the 20th century and i'm sorry this has shifted our way from comprehensive immigration reform. joining me now on the phone paul chav chavez, president of the cesar chavez foundation. thank you for joining us today. let me start by saying your father a well-known icon of latino civil rights. he fought for migrant workers rights. today is his 86th birthday. when you hear slurs like that which have not been used often certainly in public in recent years, where would your father view where we are today as a n country in addressing latino civil rights issues? >> you know, my father always reminded us of the progress that had been made and then he would let us know there's a lot more work to be done. he really believed in the greatness of this country and the ability of this country and its citizens to correct wrongs.
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now there were times we -- it was important to him that we never lose faith in the greatness of the country. we heard some disturbing comments from the congressman. we accept his apology and hope that he goes further now in making amends by working on a comprehensive immigration reform. >> talking about comprehensive immigration reform, the current deal with labor and business according to "the new york times," 200,000 guest workers is the number that is being discussed at the moment, though some groups said they wanted 400,000. half a century, that was just describing, after your father began working on this issue, what do you think of this possible deal now that could be coming in the next month or so? >> you know, we understand that there's a lot of different forces that need to be dealt with during these very difficult negotiations. we have complete confidence in the labor movement to push for -- i think it's important
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that -- to recognize the fact we have the level of importance of immigration reform and also, you know, the importance in recognizing the importance that immigrants play in the likes of the united states. >> paul chavez, thank you so much, son of cesar chavez, also the president of the cesar chavez foundation, this on the 86th birthday of the latino civil rights leader, cesar chavez. thank you so much. now to the big three in today's topics, america's gunfight revival, the immigration debate and, of course, our panel's must read. we'll get to all of that. the staff writer for, syndicated radio host armstrong williams and "washington post" political columnist dana mill bank. you just wrote a column in yesterday's "washington post" that said, quote, obama made an impassioned bid to revive prospects for gun control legislation but it's difficult to escape the conclusion that his efforts come too late, end
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quote. do you think then that there was ever a time line that was out there that he is not making or meeting at the moment? >> well, i'd love to be wrong but this is certainly the sentiment in town right now suggests nothing substantial is really going to occur in terms of background checks. it will be some watered down version of that if anything gets through at all. an argument could be made maybe this was inevitable and it wasn't going to work regardless, but it seemed that there was a window of opportunity right after the newtown massacre when the nra was back on its heels and the public opinion was really focused and it seemed that if things were brought to the congress right away then instead of studying it and allowing people to go home for the holidays, it's possible we would be in a better place than we are now. >> what's your thought about the time line and the president and what he has had to be in terms of various opportunities, windows of opportunity that dana is talking about? >> well, i think first of all it's a sad statement on the
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attention span of this country and of washington that it would take another horrific tragedy to bring this issue to the forefront. in any case the time line would not change the fact you have conservative democrats both in the senate and in the house that are not united behind any kind of gun legislation despite the fact that 91% of americans support background checks. i think that's a political reality no matter what the time would have been the president would have been facing. >> armstrong, are have the republicans or those that are in the filibuster five, for instance, have they regained, if you will, some of the momentum here? these are individuals that would like to stop the process. are they damaging the gop's credibility as they work against what is currently widely polled to be what americans want? >> why focus on the gang of five and not on hairy reid who is the senate majority leader. he's the reason why it's dead, there's no ban on assault weapons and he's the reason why
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it's watered down. i read that. he's absolutely correct. it's easier to focus on the republicans that demonize them. it's the democrats not just the conservative democrats but this was going to never hunt. there were a lot of never hunt. once it calmed down, most americans do not want tight gun control. harry reid is reflecting his constituency. republicans and democrats are the reason gun control legislation is going nowhere quick. >> the gop seem be on the fence, what was said in the last three or four hours ago, not a deal. when you look at how the sausage is being put together, the passage to citizenship, the number. is it going to happen or are we seeing bumps in the road? nevere
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sausage being put together. there's an agreement in principle, there has been more than a month. there's no agreement on the specks. that's why you saw marco rubio make a pre-emptive strike, we haven't put it together. others saying they have. there's understanding from business and labor where this needs to go. it seems like this is very doable, and it seems like it is going to happen, but you never want to make predictions in this town because things have a way of getting mixed up overt smallest detail. seems like everybody wants this to occur. >> a minute. your quick response? >> marco rubio has to go back to his people. he's looking at the primary nowhere united that immigrants naurd this country should have a pathway to citizenship. they is threading a difficult needle here. >> armstrong? 30 seconds? >> it's going to pass. they agreed on the path they must earn to citizenship.
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now back to the big three thor this week's must-reads. what's grabbing your eyes? >> the american prospect, paul waldman, oppressioned christians and second-class citizens. an interesting story. as the anti-gay marriage argument loses in the marketplace of ideas there's a mean that christians are being discriminated against. where it as, in fact, they haven't been able to persuade people that their side is right. >> your read, armstrong? >> seib prcyprus, the fact 60% savings people have in the bank will be lost. over 100,000 euro, lost and earn less than 20% on the money.
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the augss who putten in offshore accounts is sded and signals the end to offshore accounts. it's a sat state the government did literally just take your money and you have absolutely nothing to do about it. it's a sad day in cyprus. >> armstrong what does that mean for us in the u.s.? watching record numbers coming out of wall street now. >> well, i don't -- i pray that we -- everybody is saying that our economy is going the way of europe. i pray that's not the case. i can never imagine the will of the people would allow that to happen. too spoonsd we'll get our financial house in order. >> hard to ignore what's going on abrord. dana? >> a provocative piece in "the washington post" op-ed. i'm not sure i agree with the statement and make as compelling case we've tried everything
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else, and it isn't working. why not this? >> he still gets the headlines. kim jong un does. that wraps up this sunday edition of "weekends with alex witt." up next, "meet the press." have a great sunday. from foos and bacteria. try fixodent. it helps create a food seal defense for a clean mouth and kills bacteria for fresh breath. ♪ fixodent, and forget it. ♪ i've always had to keep my eye on her... but, i didn't always watch out for myself. with so much noise about health care... i tuned it all out. with unitedhealthcare, i get information that matters... my individual health profile. not random statistics. they even reward me for addressing my health risks. so i'm doing fine... but she's still going to give me a heart attack. we're more than 78,000 people looking out for more than 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare.
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